An additional £300,000 grant from Whirlwind Charitable Trust

Published 12/03/2020

Further boost for UKSA’s accommodation project, as an additional £300,000 grant from Whirlwind Charitable Trust announced

UKSA, the non-profit maritime charity, is excited to announce another significant donation has been pledged to the organisation. This follows on from the announcement of the single largest donation in UKSA’s 30-year history being made early this month (February).

UKSA’s CEO Ben Willows says: “We are thrilled that long term supporter of UKSA, the Whirlwind Charitable Trust, have confirmed they are making a £300,000 grant to support the development of our new accommodation centre. This, along with the $1.9 million donation from the TK Foundation, has unlocked and secured our ambitious plans for UKSA’s future.”

Crucial to UKSA’s plans is the building of a new, modular accommodation on its waterfront site in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. The new accommodation centre will enable an additional 3,000 children and young people to visit UKSA every year, enabling the organisation to continue growing its impact on their life skills and career prospects. Willows adds: “We deliver maritime adventures and training programmes that have a positive and lasting impact on young people’s academic, health and sporting abilities. The creation of tangible pathways inspires young people to broaden their horizons, leading to continuous employment in the maritime sector. The new accommodation is an urgent requirement for us, as the demand for places continues to grow year on year.”

Willows explains more: “Students staying with us will benefit from an improved experience, with configurable zones providing more flexible arrangements for all, alongside improved safeguarding and better disabled access. The new facilities will unlock the potential to train more professional students as they progress their careers with UKSA’s ongoing training and development programmes. In the last year, we welcomed over 10,000 students through our doors, so it’s the natural progression to improve our facilities to ensure we retain our position as a centre of excellence.”

The Whirlwind Charitable Trust (WCT) was established in 2007, thanks to a generous donation from UKSA founders Noel and Sylvia Lister’s Lister Charitable Trust.  Chris Riley, Chair of WCT says: “Our primary aim is to give financial support to charities that create opportunities and personal development for disadvantaged young people through sailing and other outdoor recreational challenges. UKSA dovetails neatly with Whirlwind’s core values, as well as sharing the Lister DNA.”

Riley adds: “Over the years, we have supported them with a number of carefully targeted grants and made an initial grant of £150,000 in 2018 to kickstart the ambitious capital development project. We are now delighted to make a further grant of £300,000 over two years with the prospect of a further £150,000 in year three to facilitate this exciting development programme.”

UKSA Chair of Trustees, Kevin George says: “2020 is shaping up to be a really exciting year for UKSA and this latest grant from the Whirlwind Charitable Trust takes us ever closer to our £4million target. This support is invaluable in helping us continually increase the number of people accessing and benefitting from UKSA’s transformative programmes.”

Willows concludes: “The partnership with the Whirlwind Charitable Trust is a significant point in the history of UKSA and we are extremely grateful. We are continuing to seek further funding to ensure we can continue to launch as many careers as possible and create a journey of inspiration for the lives of young people. Our plans are unashamedly ambitious as we drive the organisation forward into the next decade and we hope you will continue to support us on our journey.”

The UKSA site will remain fully operational throughout the development works, with building work commencing in the latter part of 2020 and completion of the works planned for mid-2022.